Inflation trumps job creation: Why Biden can’t take a breather on the economy

The number of Americans who present unemployment claims this week it fell to its lowest levels in more than half a century.

The latest report from the Department of Labor is the latest indicator to highlight the historic surge in job creation as economy of the nation rebounds after being crushed by the coronavirus pandemic.

FEWER AMERICANS FILING UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS

“Americans are going back to work at a historic rate,” President Biden touted while taking credit for the latest figures. “This historic progress is not an accident: it is the result of an economic strategy to grow the economy from the bottom up and from the middle.”

But with inflation rising and gas prices at record highs, Americans don’t see it that way.

An overwhelming majority say rising gas prices are a problem for their family, more than half of voters believe inflation is “not quite” under control, and views of the economy remain decidedly negative. according to a new Fox News national poll.

The survey, conducted March 18-21 and released Thursday, also indicates that more than two-thirds have had to cut spending to make ends meet as a growing number say they are falling behind financially.

And the poll highlights that the president is taking the blame.

AMERICANS GIVE BIDEN A BIG THUMBS DOWN ON INFLATION: FOX NEWS POLL

While Biden’s overall approval rating in the new poll rose slightly to 45%-54%, the president was underwater by 21 points for his handling of the economy (38% approve, 59% disapprove) and a massive 35 points in inflation (31% approve, 66% disapprove). The two-thirds who disapproved of inflation consisted of 89% of Republicans, almost three-quarters of independents, and even 39% of Democrats.

Fox News Biden/Inflation Poll

Fox News Biden/Inflation Poll (Fox News/Fox News)

“These ratings create incredibly difficult terrain for the president to navigate,” said Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, whose firm conducts the Fox News poll with Republican Daron Shaw. “Until the pressure of higher prices subsides, it’s hard to imagine what Biden can say to help people feel better about the job he’s doing on the economy.”

Just over half of those surveyed said the president and his policies have made the economy worse, with just 22% saying they have improved conditions and a quarter suggesting they haven’t made much of a difference.

“Perception is reality when it comes to the economy and if people don’t feel optimistic and don’t feel like the policies are working for them, then they won’t,” Republican strategist Colin Reed told Fox News.

PAIN AT THE PUMP: HOW MUCH GAS PRICES MAY COST AMERICANS THIS YEAR

Gasoline prices began rising during the final months of the former Trump administration, as the economy began to recover from pandemic-induced shutdowns in early 2020. And they rose during Biden’s tenure in the White House as that the economy was heating up. Prices at the pump have soared further in recent months amid the Russian military buildup and subsequent full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

The Fox News poll suggests that an equal number of people (68%) blame the president and Russian leader Vladimir Putin for skyrocketing gasoline prices.

gasoline prices

Gasoline prices are displayed at a gas station in Long Beach, Calif., on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis/AP Newsroom)

“The administration’s attempt to frame price increases as ‘Putin inflation’ resonates with Democrats and some independents, but doesn’t change the overall numbers much,” Shaw said. “Focusing on Putin’s role only makes people blame both Biden and Russia.”

THESE STATES REMOVE THEIR GAS TAXES. OTHERS CAN FOLLOW

Another metric the White House is targeting is rising wages. Wages have risen, 4.5% last year, the highest increase in nearly four decades. But they don’t keep up with inflation.

“The president has a good story to tell about the economy on many fronts, but seeing gas prices every day reminds people [of] inflation,” acknowledged Democratic strategist Chris Moyer.

Biden Business Roundtable

President Biden speaks at the Business Roundtable’s quarterly CEO meeting, Monday, March 21, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky/AP Newsroom)

Referring to the midterm elections in November, when Democrats look to defend their narrow majorities in the House and Senate, Moyer noted that “there’s still a long way to go until the election where gasoline could come down to more normal prices and some That pressure on the pump could be relieved, which would be helpful for Democratic candidates on this year’s ballot.”

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But Reed cautioned that “the challenge that the Biden administration is right about is that they are politically whistling past the graveyard if they go out and tell people the economy is great and try to score a victory when public polls repeatedly show that that It is not the case”.

Dana Blanton of Fox News contributed to this report.

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